5-year-old NC boy killed in drive-by shooting, 3 teens charged

North Carolina news

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WFMY) — Three teenagers are charged with murder after a 5-year-old boy died in an apparent drive-by shooting.

Winston-Salem police arrested 17-year-old Oscar Mendez-Rodriguez along with a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old who weren’t identified. All three are in jail under no bond according to a release.

The boy was playing in his family’s apartment and died Saturday night after stray bullets went through a wall and hit him in the head, police confirmed.

The shooting happened at about 5 p.m. at Kinnamon Apartments off Cole Road at Meadow Ridge Court in Winston-Salem, according to Lt. Gregory Dorn with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

“This looks to be a random shooting,” said Dorn. “We have some witnesses that have described a light-colored sedan, that was occupied by about four males subjects, that were just randomly shooting, no specific target, just being careless with their behavior, nothing else to do on this nice Saturday, Fourth of July Weekend, but just to wreak havoc on our city.”

The family called 911 while driving their son to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to get urgent treatment for the head gunshot wound, Dorn said. The 5-year-old boy was rushed into surgery, but died just after 8 p.m. from the gunshot wounds.

“I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now,” Dorn said about the boy’s family.

When officers arrived at the apartment complex in south Winston-Salem, they discovered multiple rounds had been fired throughout the area. Police say there’s no evidence that indicates the boy’s family was targeted. There were no other victims or injuries reported, but several apartment units and cars were also hit by the random shootings.

Police said it was the 13th homicide in the city so far this year, compared to 12 at the same point last year.

“This behavior is unacceptable. We don’t want this kind of action in our city. If you want to act like this, go elsewhere. I do want the citizens of Winston-Salem to take this seriously. We now have a five-year-old child that that’s not even lived any of his life that’s dead tonight,” said Dorn.

The investigation and search for evidence continued late into Saturday night, past midnight.

Evidence markers could be seen on the road, and investigators searched the area and blocked off the road throughout the search.

Multiple law enforcement worked together Saturday, including the Winston-Salem Police Department, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, federal task force officers, ATF, Homeland Security, FBI task force officers, gang units, violent firearms investigation teams, and more, according to Dorn.

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